Duck Island apartments, townhouses planned

View looking southwest at the proposed Panzica-Geis apartment and townhouse development.

Proposed by M Panzica Development LLC, the Abbey Avenue Apartments, left, and Townhomes, seen at right, would fill one of the largest undeveloped plots of land in Duck Island. The enclave is actually part of Tremont but many consider it a transition area between Tremont and Ohio City to the west. Either way, it’s a hot development zone. This is the northeast corner of the proposed apartment and townhome development (GLSD). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

City gives early OK for Tremont project near Ohio City

On one of the largest undeveloped plots of land in the heart of Duck Island’s development hot zone, a locally active real estate developer plans to build a mix of for-rent, market-rate housing styles. The project, called Abbey Avenue Apartments and Townhomes, is proposed for the block bounded by Abbey, Smith Court plus West 19th and 20th streets.

In partnership with Geis Companies of Cleveland and Streetsboro, M Panzica Development LLC of Cleveland Heights proposes a mix of 124 apartments in a five-story building and 16 for-rent townhomes divided among two smaller buildings. Estimated price tag for the project is in excess of $20 million. Although peaking at four stories, the bulk of the townhomes are three stories tall, much like Sam McNulty’s Duck Island 7 townhomes nearby at Abbey and Columbus Road.

According to plans submitted to the city by Geis’s lead architect Brandon Kline, the three buildings would effectively conceal an interior parking lot and garages providing 84 off-street parking spaces. Much of the lot will be paved with permeable pavers to reduce storm-water runoff. The city’s building code requires 83 spaces for the sizes of the buildings proposed. No guest parking is included as none is required.

Site plan for the proposed Panzica-Geis apartment-townhouse development in Cleveland's Duck Island enclave.

Site plan for the proposed Abbey Avenue Apartments and Townhomes in Cleveland’s Duck Island enclave of Tremont (GLSD).

“The project places a strong emphasis on the urban streetscape, ensuring that almost 90 percent of the parking lot is screened and internal to the site,” according to a project summary presented along with designs today to the Near West Design-Review Committee. The committee gave the schematic plans conditional approval.

As reported earlier this month by NEOtrans, developer Michael Panzica has the entire 1.7-acre block under a purchase agreement for this development. That includes the Abbey Market & Grocery which is due to close in February and be demolished, according to its proprietor Cal Issi.

The block’s current owner is Matt Berges who was leasing the vacant portions to Chicago-based developer Stoneleigh as a construction staging area for its $60 million, 241-unit Waterford Bluffs Apartments a block away on the north side of Lorain Avenue. Berges said he is selling the property because he has his hands full developing the 15-unit W20th & Smith townhomes just north of Panzica-Geis site.

Abbey Market & Grocery on Abbey Avenue is to be demolished for the Panzica-Geis apartment-townhouse development in Cleveland's Duck Island.

Most of the block on which the Abbey Avenue Apartments and Townhomes would be built is vacant except for these two structures. The Abbey Market & Grocery and a neighboring house are due to be demolished early next year (KJP).

Panzica is an active real estate developer with many recent and ongoing projects. He and Geis are wrapping up construction on the 44-unit Baricelli Little Italy Apartments. Nearby, they just started building an apartment complex on the former Woodhill Supply site between East 123rd Street and Coltman Avenue at the north end of Little Italy. The project is the result of a partnership that includes Knez Homes which will build 17 townhomes.

In Ohio City, Panzica partnered with Grammar Properties in developing the $60 million, mixed-use Church+State development on Detroit Avenue at West 29th Street. The same duo is also working together to bring about another $60 million mixed-use development called Bridgeworks, located at the northeast corner of West 25th Street and the Detroit-Superior Bridge. That fate of that 16-story project depends on it being awarded a Transformational Mixed Use Development tax credit.

The Panzica-Geis apartment building at Duck Island is proposed to measure 122,280 square feet including a 6,330-square-foot amenity space on the ground floor at the southeast corner, at the intersection of Abbey and West 19th Street. That’s across the street from the city’s Abbey Park and on the opposite corner from the Gateway Animal Clinic.

Southeast corner of the proposed Panzica-Geis apartment-townhouse development in Cleveland's Duck Island.

The southeast corner of the proposed development at Abbey Avenue and West 19th Street shows both wings of the proposed five-story apartment building. Abbey Park is at right and the Gateway Animal Clinic is behind the viewer (GLSD).

Size-wise, the apartments would average 765 square feet per unit. Sixteen studio apartments of about 576 square feet each would be provided along with 92 one-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 631 to 975 square feet. Sixteen two-bedroom units are proposed, offering 1,018-1,172 square feet each. Two of the one-bedroom apartments along with two of the two-bedroom units would feature a unique walk-up from an enclosed garage space. Geis would manage and maintain the property.

The L-shaped apartment building would line Abbey and West 19th. To the north and west of the apartment building will be the two groups of townhouses totaling 27,942 23,206 square feet for an average of 1,450 square feet per townhome unit. Nine of the units would have rooftop patios; all units will have enclosed parking garages for one car each. Or, the garage spaces could be used as living spaces, floor plans show.

The development is located one block from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Red Line rail station with frequent trains to downtown, Hopkins Airport, University Circle and the eastern suburbs. Next to it is the new Red Line Greenway, offering trail connections throughout Cuyahoga County and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

A public art mural was suggested for the blank wall at the corner of Abbey Avenue and West 19th Street in Duck Island.

To activate the blank space on the wall shown in the prior image, Geis architects proposed using for the display of a mural or some other form of public art (GLSD).

Just beyond the train station and trail is Ohio City’s Market District, including the West Side Market plus many shops and restaurants. That includes Harbor Bay Realty Advisor’s 350,000-square-foot Intro development with about 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant spaces, plus 298 apartments and 30,000 square feet of office space for roughly 150 of Harbor Bay’s newly hired hospitality and development workers.

A second phase of Intro just south of the first reportedly will include a residential tower at least 15 stories tall. Last month, Harbor Bay acquired more property for the second phase, investing $2 million by purchasing a 0.366-acre parcel at West 25th and Gehring Avenue, county property records show.

Across West 25th from Intro will be MRN Ltd.’s planned Carriage Works development on the former Voss Industries plant. In it will be more than 50,000 square feet of retail along with 80 apartments, a small hotel and 40,000 square feet of co-working space. In the other direction, next to Stoneleigh’s development on Lorain at West 20th Street, Brickhaus Partners has reportedly considered a vertical residential development on 1.4-acres it owns or controls.

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